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Grant Contributes to CSU’s Role in Sustaining California’s Water Resources

$2 million from USDA to fund water management internships for underrepresented students at 14 campuses

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(Oct. 19, 2011) - Beginning January 2012, 200 California State University students will get hands-on water management experience in internships funded by a $2 million United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant.

The federal award, which will fund 50 internships a year for the next four years, is directed toward the CSU’s 14 Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs)—campuses with an undergraduate Hispanic student enrollment of at least 25 percent.

In addition to tackling California’s water woes, the grant also aims to improve retention and graduation outcomes for underrepresented students at the CSU’s HSIs. The student interns will develop academic pathways to join the next generation of employed water professionals.

“The USDA grant funding will provide students with an opportunity to learn watershed management techniques essential to California’s efforts to sustain a reliable and clean water supply in the 21st century,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “The grant is one more avenue in which CSU’s underrepresented students can contribute to California’s future—and their own.”

Internships range from assisting CSU professors with watershed research to working at the USDA or another agency that manages community water supplies. In addition, interns will get advice on how to land a USDA job after graduation by ensuring they take the required courses to immediately apply for entry-level positions at the USDA and its agencies.

The CSU’s systemwide Water Resources and Policy Initiatives (WRPI) consortium spearheaded the grant proposal. WRPI leverages the system’s water experts into an important resource for addressing California’s complex water issues. To maintain efficiency in the grant allocations, the Water Resources Institute at CSU San Bernardino will administer the internship awards to the 14 HSI campuses.

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